By Tim Stannard
1) Wenger puts up better defense than Arsenal
Two days after the Bayern Munich debacle in the Champions League, weary Arsenal fans learned that Arsene Wenger was going nowhere, both in a very real sense in showing no sign of wanting to leave the Emirates and a continued lack of self-awareness that he might be the cause of the club’s mediocrity.
Speaking ahead of an FA Cup clash against lower league Sutton United on Monday, the under-fire Frenchman said that he will keep on managing, even if it happens to be away from Arsenal. “Whether it's here or somewhere else, that is for sure,” declared Wenger who suggested that he was clear of the blame for the club’s general ‘meh-ness’. “Even if I go, Arsenal will not win every single game in the future.”
2) Bale is back as Morata leads the way for Madrid
After 88-days out of action, possibly the last top-knot on the planet may be seen on the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday with the reemergence of Gareth Bale after suffering an ankle injury last year.
“The idea is that he is going to have some minutes,” said Coach Zizou speaking ahead of the clash against a visiting Espanyol. The French boss also revealed that Alvaro Morata will start the game declaring that he doesn’t want his forward to leave at the end of the summer due to a lack of playing time. Sergio Ramos is missing the squad call-up due to a hip injury.
Tune into the Locker Room at 7:30PM ET / 4:30PM PT for a full looking at the weekend to come in La Liga.
3) Suarez calls for Barcelona bounce-back
Speaking of La Liga, Barcelona appear to be in the news at the moment after an unfortunate result against PSG in the Champions League. After bunkering down for a few days with stories over the future of Luis Enrique in the air, Luis Suarez gave an inspirational message of hope at a publicity event on Friday. “The team is capable of getting out of this and making history.” The Uruguayan also admitted that “everyone was guilty.”
Meanwhile, one of the names thought to be replacing Luis Enrique on the Barcelona bench next summer was talking and denied putting his own name into the hat. "I'm calm about the situation because none of the rumors started with me,” soothed Sevilla boss, Jorge Sampaoli.
4) Juventus and Monaco lead furious Friday charge
Anyway, enough of such flippery. There is a whole stack of football to be dealt with on Friday including two league leaders on the beIN SPORTS network. Pride of place goes to Juventus who are on a heck of a Serie A run with five wins in a row without a single goal being conceded. Four out of those victories were 2-0 wins although more could be expected against a visiting Palmero team that is currently mired in the relegation zone. Coverage begins live on beIN SPORTS from 2:40PM ET / 11:40AM PT.
Ligue Un leaders, Monaco are also in action on Friday. Like Juventus, Monaco are getting their league encounter out of the way early before the Champions League next week. Bastia might well be at the wrong end of the table, but the Corsicans will love the chance to put a spanner in the works of their Mediterranean rivals. It all gets going on BEIN CONNECT from 2:30PM ET / 11:30AM PT.
La Liga is serving up Granada trying once again to pick up a win to get out of relegation trouble. Betis are standing in their path in an Andalusian derby. That clash is live on BEIN CONNECT from 2:30PM ET / 11:30AM PT. Tune into the XTRA at 7PM ET/ 4PM PT for all the best highlights across Europe.
5) Rain, rain, won’t go away in Qatar
The WTA Qatar Total Open is still being blighted by rain – playing a World Cup there might not be so bad after all – with the organizers trying to play both the quarterfinals and semifinal matches on the same day. And that is proving quite the challenge but two names have been filled into the bracket after Monica Puig from Puerto Rica booked her spot in the final-four along with number three seed, Dominika Cibulkova.
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